Baby Boomers Focus of New Test at 2014 Health Fair
Wrangell, April 2014 – This year saw the introduction of a blood test (new to the Health Fair) geared at helping the Baby Boomer generation determine if they had contracted Hepatitis C in the past. The test, recommended for those born between 1945 and 1965 by the Center for Disease Control, can help detect if a person has become infected with Hepatitis C. Many who do become infected may not show symptoms for years but according to the CDC, “The longer people live with Hepatitis C, the more likely they are to develop serious, life-threatening liver disease. Getting tested can help people learn if they are infected and get them into lifesaving care and treatment.” The CDC website also explains, “while anyone can get Hepatitis C, more than 75% of adults infected are baby boomers.”
In addition to the 168 Wrangellites who took advantage of the opportunity to be tested for Hepatitis C, a total of 464 individuals took part in at least one of the Health Fair blood tests though the average number given per person was 3.6 tests for a total of 1,669 different screenings ordered during the Health Fair period. The Health Profile – a panel of tests which include a hemogram, lipid levels, and cholesterol counts, among others – was the most popular blood draw with 439 requested, the fairly new Vitamin D screen accounted for 326 tests with TSH totaling 291, 281 HA1C tests were performed, and 165 PSA screenings rounded out the total individual tests for the Health Fair.
During a wrap-up meeting shortly after the Health Fair, it was decided to try a different format for next year’s blood draws. In 2015 blood draws will be taken at the hospital lab between March 2-27 (more information to follow in early 2015), with the results being made available at the Health Fair. Additional information pertaining to each of the tests will also be available and some vendors may also be able to assist Wrangellites who have questions about how to improve things such as cholesterol levels, etc… “It will be an experiment,” notes co-organizer Kris Reed, “we found that nearly a third of this year’s blood draws actually took place at the hospital in the weeks leading up to the Health Fair and we are hoping that by offering a more flexible schedule in the month before the Health Fair, folks will be able to work around vacations, absences from town and such. Plus, there will be many more ‘first thing in the morning’ spots available this way!”
It is likely that the hours for the Health Fair itself will change – moving a bit later than the previous 7 am to noon schedule (giving vendors a bit more time to set up in the morning). “We will be working hard to get the word out to the community as we finalize details on the new blood draw and Health Fair schedule so that the transition is smooth as possible,” assures Reed, “and work has already begun on pulling together informational kiosks which should help answer some of those questions which invariably come up when we open that envelope and pull out our results.”
This winter will be a busy time for the Health Fair committee, but thanks in part to their efforts, on April 4, 2015 Wrangellites can look forward to a whole new Health Fair experience.
Health Fair 2015
Health Fair 2015 will be here before you know it! We're planning on Saturday, April 4, at the Nolan Center. Check with Kris Reed (907-874-7196) if you wish to be a vendor or click the above link if you are a returning vendor.